President George W. Bush, Vice President Joe Biden, First Lady Melania Trump, and President Trump have all been to my home area. Not for rallies, not for campaigning, but as a back drop for the long running debate of how to deal with the border crisis. In the past two years, this area has been the center of one of the largest debates in politics. 

As someone who has lived on the border my entire life, I support building the wall. Here’s why.

I was born in McAllen, Texas and have lived here on the border my entire life. Living here for the past 21 years has made me witness to the true horrors of the illegal immigration system and the victims caught in its cycle.

When crossing over, undocumented immigrants pay to travel in groups led by a “coyote.” Coyotes are professional smugglers that charge thousands of dollars to people who want to come into the U.S. These coyotes do more than just lead immigrants across the border, though. They leave undocumented immigrants to die along the way. When they do get across, they put multiple women and young girls into sex trafficking.

Smugglers don’t care about the well-being of those they bring over. Children are often left in the wilderness to die of dehydration and starvation alone because they “slowed down” a group. Those that do make it across will often be near death because of how badly they were treated along the way. Is this something we want to incentivize? Do we want parents in other countries to think that it is worth risking their child’s life to put them in the hands of these smugglers? If they know chances are slim that they will have success coming over illegally, less parents will send their children over unaccompanied and less children will be left to the elements by those paid to bring them over.

Abandoning people isn’t the only thing smugglers do. It is well known that many are serial rapists. Women and young  girls suffer at their hands during the sometimes weeks long journey across the border. Amnesty International reported in 2014 that at least 60% of women and girls crossing into the U.S are raped. That number should be shocking to most people, but to those of us that live on the border, it isn’t.

Once these young girls get here, their fate isn’t always better. Because the number of unaccompanied children has grown over the years, smugglers reach the U.S with a large amount of young girls that they can then put into sex trafficking without anyone being around to stop them.

The U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website has multiple stories listed of sex-trafficking rings they have broken up that have resulted in the arrests of foreign nationals for harboring illegal aliens for purposes of prostitution. When living on the border, these sex-trafficking rings are run out of stash houses in our own neighborhoods. Those of us who live here know these things happen. We watch these houses be raided from across the street. Our hearts break as we pray that these women and girls find safety.

Sex trafficking needs to be stopped before it gets to the U.S. It needs to be stopped before young girls are sent across the border alone. What better way to do that then with a wall?

The reasons why Coyotes can charge thousands for their services is because they know the way to get here. They know the spots on the border that have little to no barrier. When there is no area without a physical barrier stopping them, what will they do? Who will put their daughters in the hands of someone who will no longer have a guaranteed route into the United States?

Will a wall solve every problem at our border? No. It will be a start, though.

There have been decades long conversations about the illegal immigration dilemma. No one has ever offered up any kind of concrete tangible solution.

Talking points don’t help anyone.

They don’t help the children left dying in the wilderness.

Talking points certainly don’t help the young girls put into sex trafficking by their smugglers.

They don’t help the number of innocent Americans who have lost their life to illegal immigrants who shouldn’t have been able to get into the country in the first place.

Every time camera crews have swarmed the border, nothing changes. The reporters and politicians leave. My community is left without a solution. We are left with criminals, sex-trafficking rings, and drugs.

President Trump has offered up a solution. A wall.

Presidents and other politicians alike have used my community and my area as the backdrop for their speeches since I was a little girl. They’ve promised that it will be a priority, that change will come, and that they only want to see what’s best for us. For once, I feel like someone is doing more than just talking. President Trump has shown that border security is an issue that he will fight for. That is why I support a wall. It will de-incentivize people from taking the risk of coming over. A wall will leave the despicable smugglers without more victims. Lastly, a wall will make my home more than just the backdrop of a debate that never ends.

Stormi R